The National Irrigation Authority was established on August 16, 2019 by the Irrigation Act No. 14 of 2019 as a successor institution of the National Irrigation Board. This was after His Excellency the President assented to the Irrigation Bill of 2019 on July 29, 2019 paving way for its gazettement via Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 136 (Acts No. 14) of August 2, 2019.
The objective of the irrigation Act 2019 is to provide for the development, management and regulation of irrigation, to support sustainable food security and socioeconomic development in Kenya, and for connected purposes.
Irrigation in Kenya is well anchored in Vision 2030, the Third Medium Term Plan (MTP III) 2018-2022, Big Four Agenda 2018-2022 and further cascaded in the Authority’s Strategic Plan 2019-2023. The Irrigation Act is further intended to support sustainable food production by clearly outlining the roles of national and county governments in facilitating irrigation activities in Kenya.
Part III, Section 7(1) of the Irrigation Act 2019 establishes the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) whose functions are;
- Develop and improve irrigation infrastructure for national or public schemes;
- Provide irrigation support services to private medium and smallholder schemes, in consultation and cooperation with county governments and other stakeholders;
- Provide technical advisory services to irrigation schemes in design, construction supervision, administration, operation and maintenance under appropriate modalities, including agency contracts, as may be elaborated in regulations to this act.
- In consultation with county governments and other stakeholders;
- Facilitate formation and strengthening of irrigation water users’ associations at scheme level for operation, maintenance and management;
- Facilitate formation and strengthening of scheme management and dispute resolution committees at scheme level for management of the schemes and resolution of disputes relating to scheme management;
- Promote the marketing, safe storage and processing of crops, animal and fish products grown or produced on national and other irrigation schemes and to liaise in this regard with other responsible state agencies and organizations;
- Carry out periodic researches to determine and make recommendation on fair prices for crops, animals and fish products grown or produced on national and other irrigation schemes;
- In consultation with the cabinet secretary and county governments, co-ordinate and plan settlement on national or public irrigation schemes, as well as schemes which traverse or straddle more than one county and determine the number of settlers thereof;
- Facilitate linkages between and among the national government and county governments, private sector, civil society organizations, communities and other stakeholders for the provision of support services to irrigation water user associations;